National Geographic explorer Dan Buettner, after performing hundreds of interviews with elderly, has discovered five regions in Europe, America and Asia called “Blue Zones”, which have the highest concentration of centenarians in the world.
Buettner, in his book The Blue Zones Solution speaks precisely about the feeding of the inhabitants of these areas. For the author, Americans should follow the example of these people, with extremely low rates of diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease.
The inhabitants of the blue zones keep in motion, have social circles with healthy lifestyles and take time to relax. But they also give importance to their diets.
Buettner recommends to follow the example of this centenarians “eating the lightest meal of the day in the evening or at night” or “eat most vegetables, especially legumes. Eating meat infrequently and on servings of 85 to 110 grams”. On average, people in the blue zones consume servings of this size 5 times per month.
Besides this, Buettner said each zone is characterized by foods that seem to be conducive to longevity. On the island of Ikaria, he says “what separates this island from other parts of the region, is the emphasis on potatoes, goat milk, honey, beans, chickpeas and lentils, wild vegetables, fruits and fish”. Other foods eaten by centenarians are feta cheese, lemon and herbs such as sage or marjoram.
In Sardinia they consume a large quantity of sheep's milk and pecorino cheese, in addition to “a moderate amount of carbohydrates, flat bread, sourdough bread and barley”, the diet is balanced with fennel, beans, chickpeas, tomatoes, almonds and one or two glasses of wine a day (mostly Grenache grape variety).
Meanwhile in Japan, centenarians have maintained “the habit of eating a food from the land and from the sea every day”. The preferred ingredients are bitter melon, tofu, garlic, rice, green tea and Shiitake mushrooms, besides a large number of medicinal plants in infusions.
In an adventist community in Loma Linda, California, they seek to extend the life by not drinking, no smoking, no dancing, and follow a biblical diet which consists of cereals, nuts, fresh fruits, vegetables and water.
In Costa Rica, the great secret of the diet are “the three sisters” of Mesoamerican agriculture: beans, corn and squash. Besides papayas, yams, bananas and peach palm fruits, rich in vitamins A and C. The water of the area is also rich in calcium.
Dan Buettner believes that we can imitate the eating habits of these places as far as possible. In the U.S. started the “Blue Zone Project” to help communities adapting to this healthy lifestyle.
So, if you want to start leading a healthier life, start eating a balanced diet, do some sport and drink one or two wine glasses every day. Cheers!
M. Chapoutier Bila Haut Occultum Lapidem 2013: a red wine from Côtes du Roussillon Villages DO of M. Chapoutier cellar with the best bunches of 2013 syrah and grenache and has a volume of alcohol of 14º.
Camins del Priorat 2013: a red wine with this DO: Priorat vinified with cariñena and cabernet sauvignon from 2013 and with an alcohol content of 14.5º.
*Image: Mirona Iliescu (flickr)